Monday, November 19, 2018

Happy Stories

Today at work I had the most amazing thing happen. As you know, I do IUIs for my patients, and we always hope that it will work. But sometimes people do need to move onto IVF (as I did many years ago after 5 IUI cycles). One of my patients decided to be proactive and come in for a follow up visit before she was due for her pregnancy test for her latest IUI cycle. She was a day early for her pregnancy test, so we did the blood test, and she saw the doctor while it was running. After seeing the doctor, patients come to me to sign consents. We sat and I was doing my usual shpiel about the consents and how to fill them out yadda yadda yadda.... When the doctor and one of the MAs knocked on the door. All three of us (patient, partner, and I) raised our eyebrows. "Yeeeees? What can we do for you?" The two at the door had the largest grins on their faces. Doctor says that her blood test was back....and she's pregnant. Three jaws dropped to the floor. OMG. Well, there goes my consent shpiel, let's change tactics entirely! It was entirely surreal and probably the most exceptional thing to happen in my entire time at the clinic. It was like something you'd see in a movie. Absolutely incredible!

On another happy note, my first cousin who has been searching for her daughters (who she had been forced to give up for adoption many years ago) FOUND THEM!!!! Her brother (my other first cousin) was really the detective, and she's going to have her daughters back for Christmas this year. I am entirely beside myself with happiness for her. I can't wait to meet them myself!

And thirdly, the price on my plane tickets went down again. This time to $677. My refund is now going to be over $1100. SWEET! More money to spend on Disney and Universal tickets.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Plane Tickets

I've been planning a trip with the family for several months, but the plane tickets are so expensive, and flying 6 people can be extremely costly to begin with. Originally the tickets were $670 each, and I figured I would wait to see if the price would come down. It didn't... I watched it go up and up and up until I finally said "enough!" and bought tickets. It was then that I realized Travelocity has this neat program called "Price Match Guarantee" where you pay a bit extra per ticket and they will guarantee you the lowest fare from the time you buy until your flight. I bought the tickets when they were $868 each (OUCH) in the hopes that even though I spent another $168 for the price match program that it would drop by at least that much in the coming months. Since I bought 6 tickets, the fare would only have to drop by $28 in order to make back the money.

In the weeks since I bought the tickets, I've watch the price soar all the way up to $1000 per ticket. I despaired that it would ever come back down, until the other day when the price dropped to $867 and change per ticket. Less than a dollar difference. But I put in my price match guarantee request and they locked me in for a $5 refund once my trip is over. Not bad, but not great either. Luckily I can keep checking prices and keep requesting refunds, and they'll give me the best price out of all of my requests.

Today I was talking with my co-worker about something and it reminded me to price check, so I did. It was $720. *record screech* I blinked a few times. I gasped audibly. Possibly my heart stopped beating for a few. May have screamed. I got onto Travelocity so quickly it would have made your head spin. I put in my request, and the most beautiful words appeared on my screen: Refund due $887.16. Looks like I've made my price match guarantee work for itself after all. If it comes down again, of course I'll request the lower price, but I am darned happy about this one even if it never comes this low again.

And the funny part is that I must have caught it by a hair. The price was only that low for one day. It's already gone back up to $867. Whew! I would have had a fit if I had seen the price graph later and had missed the drop. I am extremely lucky.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Rhode Island Comic Con

The kids, my friend Ron, and I went to Rhode Island Comic Con today. It's become a yearly tradition, and every year we get our picture taken with various celebrities. This year was no different, and we got to meet actors we hadn't met before.

Billy Boyd played Pippin in the Lord of the Rings series. We brought some of our Lord of the Rings mystery minis with us - specifically the four hobbits: Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin. Billy is holding the little Pippin figure, and he looks ecstatic to be doing so. It was so cute!

Tom Felton played Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter series. I handed him Lucius Malfoy's wand that I have had for about a year (since we met Lucius's actor at a previous convention). I figured it would make him feel good to get to use his dad's wand. And he didn't disappoint - he told everyone "wands at the ready!" for the photo. So we had to follow suit.

Natalia Tena played Tonks in the Harry Potter series. She was so sweet with the kids and also told everyone "wands at the ready!" for the picture. Gavriella is concentrating very hard on her magic and is being helped by one of the greatest aurors in the business!

Sam Smith plays Mary Winchester in Supernatural. She was extremely nice. She shook my hand, asked my name and introduced herself (as if I had no clue who she was). Sam and Dean obviously have a really great mom.

My friend Ron invited the kids to be in his photo with Tara Strong. Tara is a voice actress who has voiced so many animated characters I can hardly remember a quarter of them. In particular, she voices Twilight Sparkle in My Little Pony. We met her at Boston Comic Con a few months ago, and she was very nice to the kids. We also found out at that point that she knows Hebrew! Dovid greeted her in Hebrew at the photo, and she didn't disappoint. She answered him in Hebrew and asked how he was doing. He responded that he was good (also in Hebrew). It was really cool to watch.

All in all we had a really great time, though most of it was spent in lines for photos. The best part was the fact that we were able to get ADA badges because of Dovid's diabetes, so our lines were mercifully short. We even managed to be first in line for Sam Smith! Definitely going to make sure we get ADA passes for all future conventions.

Saturday, November 3, 2018


Friday's thoughts:
I never thought I would make it home in time for Shabbos, but I did!!! I was within candle lighting, and I was so happy that I got to light candles with the kids. I love my job, but it's hard when you know you have to call patients back because it's time sensitive, but you also were supposed to leave an hour or more prior. Starting next week we're going to be doing 10 hr day schedules that that we'll have an extra day off per week. We're already working until 5:30pm most of the time, so it's not really working any more than we have been. We'll actually get to work less! On the flip side, our 6 hour days on weekends are now 10 hour days. But at least I'll be able to do a lot of catching up on the weekends when it's quiet.

I'm looking forward to Rhode Island Comic Con, which we're going to on Sunday. I'm going to be super busy that day, because immediately after getting home from the convention I have to go to a capella rehearsal. No rest for the weary... But I will share with you pictures and stories once I have recovered. 😃

Saturday's thoughts:
When you have to get up at 6 am every morning for work, sleep ins on the weekend are so sweet. I won't even tell you what time Shmuel made me get out of bed. It's embarrassing. And I had been having a weird dream that I don't really remember now...only that it was weird. (But what dreams aren't weird?)

Shabbos went as most Shabbosim do. Nothing too exciting to report. When it wasn't Shabbos I was trying to be productive and creative - writing tips about trying to conceive and colorizing a black and white photo (just to see if I could). Apparently I'm not too terrible at using photoshop to colorize, and I'm pretty impressed at my final product. See for yourself!

It's a photo of my grandpa from the 1920's. It's only part of a much larger photo of his whole family. I'm considering coloring the entire thing.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

New Big

My three oldest kids have all had either a Big Brother or Big Sister from Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters at some point over the last few years. Unfortunately due to circumstances Dovid has not had a Big Brother since he was diagnosed with diabetes. Chana has had two Big Sisters, but each of them had to leave the program for personal reasons. Tzipora has also had two Big Sisters, and is currently still with that second one. I got a call the other day that a third Big Sister had been found for Chana and asked if we wanted to meet her. Of course I said yes! So tonight we went to meet Chana's new Big Sister, and she seems so sweet. I'm very excited for them to be able to start going out with one another. I think their first outing is going to be doing some kind of art project and ice cream. Sounds like they'll have a lot of fun!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018


I just realized I didn't post anything yesterday. Kind of funny, because it was my day off, and I actually went out into the world and did something. My usual weekly appointments, and I also had a nice visit to the dentist. I say nice, because they complimented me on my teeth! Considering how much of a crappy brusher I was as a kid, this was the highest of compliments for me.

I discovered today that being empathetic is not always a good thing....when I started crying during a patient intake because of what they had experienced. Whew... Sometimes my job can be really, really emotionally difficult. I seriously wanted to sit there and bawl, but I managed to keep myself from going that far. A tissue was necessary, and my eyes were so red that my coworkers thought something bad had happened to me! I was never this emotional as a child...but being a parent really changes you. I cry at EVERYTHING. I sobbed earlier today while in my office because of a Facebook friend who lost his infant son today. Just reading his post had me in tears. I am definitely a crier, there is no doubting that. But I hope that my new patients were not offended or anything by my show of emotion. Sometimes I just can't help but feel their pain. And oh it hurts.

Today I took the kiddos out trick or treating....even though their school sent out an email asking people not to. I grew up trick or treating, and although there are still pagans who celebrate this as a religious holiday, the vast majority of people do not. It's a day to go out, dress up, and ring everyone's doorbells. More than likely my kids will be some of the only kids in their school to "celebrate," and I'm okay with that. At least they are having fun and actually getting out of the house. And free candy doesn't hurt, though with maybe a quarter to a half of it being non-kosher we make sure our friend Ron has a nice haul of his own of non-kosher candy and other treats. Like the bakery that gave out freshly baked chocolate cookies. Or the store that gave out caramel apples. Yeah he is getting the good stuff. 😄

We did make it for about 20 mins of trick or treating on the main street at the businesses. Even though I managed to get out of work on time, they didn't get home from school until after 4pm and then getting them into costumes was a chore. Ahh well....maybe next year I'll get off from work and we'll be able to get started earlier. It would be nice to be able to visit all of the businesses on both sides of the street.

After dinner we went out and rang doorbells. Most of our neighborhood doesn't celebrate. It's so unlike when I was growing up and every house on my street had a light on and was giving candy. Now you're going down half a street just for one house to be lit up. I need to find a new neighborhood for this...

Monday, October 29, 2018

Flu shot

I finally got my seasonal flu shot today! I usually get it much earlier on in October every year, but I had been waiting for my workplace to get them. Last night I even said to someone that if they weren't doing flu shots today that I was going to go to CVS tomorrow (on my day off) to get one. I was extremely excited and actually bounded down the hall when I heard one of my coworkers was doing the injections. It was actually really funny to have her give me the shot, and I must say she did a fantastic job. It didn't hurt almost at all when she did it, and my arm is only a tiny bit sore. Yay for vaccines!

I watched the end of the World Series last night, and Boston won. YAY! I had also watched part of game 3. Both games included several home runs, which was quite nice. It was kind of anticlimactic to have the last batter strike out, though. 😄 I felt bad for him, though. That must feel absolutely terrible. Not only losing the game and the World Series, but doing it by striking out. And I was very happy it did not go into extra innings. As it was I went to bed later than I wanted to!

Sunday, October 28, 2018

2018 NICU Reunion

Every year I take the kids over to St. Elizabeth's for the annual NICU reunion. Families who had children in the NICU are invited to celebrate, and it's always around Halloween. People dress in costumes, and the kids have activities that they can do - fake tattoos, coloring, making Halloween decorations and masks, creating ghosts out of lollipops, and games. There's also ice cream and cake. And I'm known so well that the lady serving cake handed me the ice cream lid to show me it was kosher without me even asking. 😆

The kids had fun this year, as they always do.

Every year they also have professional photos taken. You can go up as many times as you'd like, but I only did one shot of the whole family. It was a miracle that everyone was looking at the camera and smiling!

I also look forward to seeing all of the doctors and nurses who I used to work with at St. Elizabeth's and those who also took care of me during my pregnancy, delivery and postpartum with the twins. Dr. Silvia Testa (pictured above) is the neonatologist who took care of the twins while they were in the NICU. I know I've posted about her and her husband previously on this blog. It's so special for her to see the twins and how much they've grown. I also ran into a patient of mine and her family (from when I worked at St. Elizabeth's on L&D) who had come to the NICU reunion last year as well. They recognized me within seconds, and it was so good to see them as well.

I took a bunch of pictures - mostly candid shots of the kids doing projects. Click here to see all of the NICU Reunion photos.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Post-Shabbos Post

Friday's thoughts:
We got a few delicata squash the other day, and Shmuel made them for Shabbos dinner. He wasn't sure what to do with them after they were cooked, so I basically covered them with brown sugar and cinnamon, then raisins. THEY WERE SO GOOD! And the kids were fascinated by the fact that they could eat the skin. Tzipora may have been a bit horrified by the idea and made faces. Gavriella, unsurprisingly, refused to touch it. She has no idea what she missed out on. Dovid ate it with gusto. For a child that eats everything with gusto and finishes at least twice as much food as I do at dinner, he doesn't grow so much. If I ate like he did at dinner, I'd look like a balloon! If we could trade metabolisms (excluding the diabetes part), we'd be all set. 😄

I had a great week at work with a lot of happy moments, but also a few sad ones. Luckily the happy moments for my patients usually outweigh the unhappy ones. I adore my patients, and seeing them glowing with joy when they become pregnant is one of the highlights of my life.

I'm looking forward to the weekend, even though I am working this weekend. I'm hoping I'll get a decent amount of work done so that I can be ahead for the week to come. And then on Sunday afternoon we'll be going to the NICU reunion at St Elizabeth's! This is something we've done every year since the twins were very little, and the kids look forward to it every year. I will make sure to share pictures of it afterward.

Saturday's thoughts:
Shock. Awe. Horror. None of these words even come close to what I felt when I read about the tragedy in Pittsburgh. Jews...targeted only because they are Jewish. Shot while praying on the Sabbath. Murdered while celebrating the recent birth of a child. How something like this can happen in the United States in the modern world is beyond me. But shootings continue happening. I don't think armed guards are the answer. I don't think arming citizens is the answer. But unfortunately I do not know what the answer is. Hate is like a disease that spreads and causes people to do unthinkable things. I am angry. I am extremely sad. And I cried....I cried for the people who lost their lives today, for their families and friends, and for the world in general. What have we come to?

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Long Day of Not a Whole Lot

These days are the most difficult to write about - the ones where I'm at work for 10 hours, come home to eat dinner, and see the kids for a little while before it's time for them to go to bed. Not a whole lot happens (generally).

I came home today to Gavriella asking if she could take her new purse to school for show and tell tomorrow. She's so excited about it, and I just love that, so of course I said yes - with the caveat that she better not lose it.

I forgot to add that during my Costco trip yesterday I bought a whole bunch of candy for Halloween. They have full size candy bars for REALLY cheap - we're talking 30 full size candy bars for $12. If anyone actually comes to my house for trick or treating, they are going to be in for a happy surprise. Most years we get a handful of kids (or less), so we'll see what happens. If we start handing out good candy I'm wondering if word will spread and people will make a special trip. I guess we will see!

Last night I did my best friend's nails for her work Halloween party (which was today). I should have taken a picture of them. Maybe when she gets home (she lives next door to me) I'll have her do it so I can share it with you. We put on a Halloween-themed Color Street set called "Bloody Gorgeous". Last night I also wrapped all of the presents I got the kids at Costco. It took a while, but at least now the presents are hidden, and even if the kids find the hiding place they won't know what's there.

My task for this evening is actually going through my old records from the days when I was doing fertility cycles and backdating entries into this blog so I can have a more well-rounded idea of what actually happened. I may possibly co-author a book about fertility and want to have an easy way to reference things for myself. Feel free to peruse through the ancient history 2006-2008 once my posts go live.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Day off

Today was one of my rare days off, but of course no mom has a real day off. 😄 My day was spent in appointments and running errands. I feel like I accomplished quite a bit, in fact. And I even went to Costco and bought (way too many) Chanukkah gifts for the kiddos. Apparently I should not be left alone in Costco. Especially not when there are LOTS OF BOOKS. Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Judy Blume, and Beverly Cleary are going to take up an entire bookshelf of their own in December. I got a few other things for them, too, which I am sure they will like.

I also made it over to the thrift store, something I never get to do because I almost never have a Wednesday off. The Brighton Allston Congregational Church on Washington Street has a thrift shop that's only open on Saturdays and Wednesdays. I can't shop on Saturdays, and I haven't had Wednesdays off in a very long time. When I passed by there today (several times) it reminded me that they were open! I browsed a bit - found a cute Chanukkah-themed art piece that I did not buy but gave me a chuckle. They frequently have random Jewish-themed items in the shop that I've noticed in the times I've been there, and this time was no different. They also usually have a collection of eclectic purses, and my girls all love purses. So for a few bucks I can make someone in my household very happy. I found a really cute purse that had rainbow colors, and I knew it had to come home with me. It was very quickly claimed by Gavriella.

I also found an adorable apple-shaped dish which I thought would be cool to put honey in for Rosh Hashana. Inside it are red and white polished "rocks," which I had assumed would not be included in purchasing the dish, but the man at the register told me to take them as well.

I spent a total of $2 at the thrift store. Can you believe it?

On another topic, there was a comment on my last post asking about how we're managing with Dovid's diabetes. We're actually doing quite well. He started on a pump over the summer and it's connected with a continuous glucose monitor. They work together to keep his blood sugar regulated, which is pretty nice. It's not perfect - as no machine can be - but I think his blood sugars have been a lot better than they were before. He's not venturing up into the 300 or 400s nearly as much as he used to. Dovid has gotten used to the carb calculations, pump changes, sensor changes, and finger sticks that go along with being a diabetic. It's never going to be easy, but we're managing. I'll have to get a picture of him showing off his pump. He is very proud of it, though he needs to learn to stop playing with it. Anything that's electronic or has buttons (and this has both) fascinates him, so he messes around with it. At one point he changed the language to Spanish. I was quite unhappy with him that day. He's still not gaining weight well, but he probably never will. He's always been skinny and being a diabetic doesn't really help on that front. And he eats really well, so it's not that he's not eating enough. But he's doing all right, and so far I haven't had complaints from his teachers about behavior this year, so that's something. Little miracles.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

10 months and counting

It's been far too long since I wrote on here, and I realized that I should write more accounts of what actually happens in my life. I used to have a diary as a kid, and I wrote in it every day. While I doubt I'd have to energy to update here every day, I'm going to make a concerted effort to do so. Here are my thoughts of the day:

I can't believe I've been at my "new" job for 10 months. I have never been so happy in a job. The environment is friendly, uplifting, and just plain fun. No one has a beef with anyone else. Everyone likes everyone else. We all get along. We are all friends. There are no cliques. It is like night and day from almost everywhere else I've ever been. I can easily see myself hanging out with these women on a regular day, and I'm a hermit. 😀 I've learned so many things and refined my knowledge in others. I feel confident in my ability to do my job. I enjoy what I do. I love and care about my patients (and they love me back, for the most part). I celebrate every pregnancy, but I also am sad when my patients graduate and go off to their OB/Gyn. I wish I could watch each of them grow (literally). And I can't believe that the patients who became pregnant when I started working there are now having their babies. It's uncanny!

Going back to my last blog post, which was back in January, I ended it with my desire to do two things:
#1 Doing an IUI for a woman...and having her get pregnant and have a baby!
#2 Calling someone with their positive (and increasing) beta.

Since then I have done several IUIs, and at least two of them have resulted in a pregnancy that is currently ongoing. One is at least halfway through her pregnancy, if not more, and one is more newly pregnant. So quite soon I will have completed #1.

As for #2, I have gotten to call MANY people with their positive and increasing betas! I've also been privileged to sit in on some OB ultrasounds and get to watch my patients' reactions to seeing their baby's heartbeat for the first time. That is without a doubt the best part of my job.

And amongst all of the happiness at my work, I am incredibly sad because one of my co-workers is leaving the practice to go elsewhere and today was our last day working together. She was my office-mate and taught me how to do my job. If I am considered a good IVF nurse, it's really because of her. I am going to miss her SO FREAKING MUCH, and I have no clue what I'm going to do being in that room without her wisdom, jokes, support, hugs, and smiling face. There is no one on earth who can replace her, and I can only hope that whoever comes in to take her spot is even half as amazing as she is. 💔

In other news, my a capella group (Honorable Menschen) had a concert this past weekend. Considering at least 3 of us had colds, I think we did a pretty incredible job. I was also extremely proud and honored to have my arranged version of Hallelujah LaOlam performed for the first time during the second half. Watch our concert below and enjoy!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Revisiting the Past

Since I began working at a fertility clinic I became curious about my own path to motherhood. Unfortunately I was not a very good record taker or blogger up until I went through my IVF cycle. But even then I didn't mention doing injections or anything of that nature. I knew that I had, of course, but I didn't recall exactly what my protocol was.

So, I called up my old reproductive medicine clinic and had them send me my (ancient) records. The other day I received a very thick envelope from them and spent yesterday afternoon reliving the past and all of the cycles I had leading up to the conception of the twins.

In order to get this better documented, I have put in some (many) past-dated entries into my blog. It took a bit of time, but I'm hoping this will be interesting to someone aside from myself. Perhaps my kids (especially the twins) will enjoy seeing what their mom and dad had to do in order to have them?

In either case, I hope anyone that decides to come back in time with me enjoys the trip. I started with the earliest testing that was done way back in 2007, so that is where you begin to look for new entries.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

New Year, New Job

Toward the end of last year, I decided I needed to make a change. Working nights was killing me physically, and I wasn't happy doing what I was doing. It wasn't necessarily the work itself, but a number of things. I started looking, and almost out of the blue was contacted by a company that I had submitted a resume to many months prior.

The company is a branch of a well-known fertility clinic. Anyone who has gone through fertility treatments has heard of CCRM (Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine). They are the top of the line in reproductive medicine - high quality, high success. Women and couples would fly from all over the country to Colorado just to be seen at this clinic. Eventually they figured why not bring the excellence of CCRM to the women so they don't have to travel so far. Hence, CCRM Boston was born! (haha get it?)

I have always had a passion for reproductive medicine, and I learned a great deal while going through fertility treatments. And if you've been following my blog since the beginning, you will remember all of that. :) I actually wish I had done a better job of blogging it, but I was a newbie and didn't really know what I was doing. I spent more time on the WebMD and Fertile Thoughts message boards in those days. Then I was made the beta (hCG) board coordinator on Fertile Thoughts and became somewhat of an expert in interpreting beta levels...something that comes in handy in my new job, but let's not get ahead of ourselves in my story.

I always knew I wanted to work in women's health, but after all I had been through in midwifery school and on L&D, I realized I didn't /need/ to work in birth to find fulfillment. I didn't even need to work as a midwife to be fulfilled. In fact, I had quite enjoyed my job as an OB/Gyn office nurse. I like office work. I've done enough secretarial and reception work to know that. I love computers and feel comfortable with them. I like working with patients...getting to know them....helping them.

So when CCRM Boston called, I jumped. Being an IVF Nurse Coordinator was almost like a calling. I felt like I knew reproductive medicine inside and out, and what I didn't know I could learn easily. From the moment I first stepped into the clinic during my interview, I knew this was where I belonged. And then...they hired me! To make a long story short, I'm getting to do something I absolutely love and feel like I'm dreaming every day that this is actually my life now. I'm putting all of the knowledge I gained during treatments to good use!

I have never felt more welcomed and loved in a workplace ever before. I feel valued and cherished. I'm giving it my all and loving every second of it. Even when I'm really busy, I still love it. I especially love it! I get to talk to patients and counsel them. I'm learning all about protocols and medications. I feel useful and competent, and I feel like part of the team even though it's been less than a month. I am seriously so happy - if you couldn't tell. Every day I am so grateful that I've been given this opportunity.

There are two things that I am looking forward to in this job that haven't happened (YET). #1 Doing an IUI for a woman...and having her get pregnant and have a baby! #2 Calling someone with their positive (and increasing) beta. It's only a matter of time! Baby dust to all. :)